Tasmania Fire Service recommends that you should not plan to defend your home when the Fire Danger Rating exceeds 50 (severe) in your area unless you have created a defendable space and ember-proofed your home. Unless your home has a defendable space and has been designed and built specifically to withstand a bushfire, you should not plan to defend it if the Fire Danger Rating exceeds 75 (extreme). Tasmania Fire Service recommends that you should not plan to defend any home when the Fire Danger Rating exceeds 100 (catastrophic) in your area, regardless of any preparations you have made. If a fire starts on these days, you should leave for a safe place well before the fire threatens your home.
If staying to defend your home against bushfires, it's important to protect yourself from radiant heat and from the numerous embers the fire will generate.
Wearing the clothing you would normally wear on a hot summer day will not provide you with protection during a bushfire.
Wear clothing made from natural fibres (cotton or wool), such as overalls or a long sleeved cotton shirt and cotton trousers or jeans. Wear a wide-brimmed hat or safety helmet. Cotton or leather gardening gloves will protect your hands, and goggles or safety glasses will help keep sparks and embers out of your eyes. A good dust-mask will help protect your throat and lungs. It is very important to wear sturdy, fire-resistant boots or shoes so you can move around safely outside.
If you create a defendable space around your home and choose to stay and defend it, your chances of success will improve if you have some basic tools available.
As a minimum, you should have a ladder for access to roof gutters and into the roof space, a torch for moving safely inside the roof space, a hose and fittings, a rake and a strong bucket. A wet mop can be handy for putting out embers and small fires.
If you can't rely on mains water, you need an alternative supply. You should purchase a small firefighting pump and hose. Look under 'fire protection equipment' in the Yellow Pages. A pump kit should include the pump and its petrol or diesel-driven motor, a suction hose, strainer and float (to get water to the pump), sufficient 19 mm or 25 mm diameter firefighting hose or 19 mm garden hose to reach around all sides of your home, a firefighting nozzle for each hose, and spare fuel. Practice using the equipment regularly.
During the fire, make sure that the pump and hose are protected from high ambient temperatures and radiant heat and sheltered from embers and sparks. Any plastic pipes and fittings should be buried below ground or covered so they won't melt.
Smaller fire-fighting pumps should be taken inside as the main fire front passes. Larger fixed pumps should be protected with a non-combustible cover or pump-housing.